Third-Party Smart Meter Data Analytics: The FTC’s Next Enforcement Target?
The Antitrust Source
October 2012
Partner Dana Rosenfeld co-authored The Antitrust Source article entitled, "Third-Party Smart Meter Data Analytics: The FTC's Next Enforcement Target?" The article discusses the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)'s March 2012 final report (FTC Privacy Report) that set forth privacy recommendations and best practices for companies handling consumer data. Since the report extends to "all commercial entities that collect or use consumer data that can be reasonably linked to a specific consumer, computer, or other device," it may ultimately apply to utilities and third parties providing detailed analytics of Consumer Energy Usage Data (CEUD) made available through smart meters. Consequently, companies processing this data with inadequate privacy and data security safeguards may become the FTC's next enforcement target. The article advises that incorporating the consolidated privacy guidelines from the FTC Privacy Report, National Institute of Standards and Technology Interagency Report (NISTIR), and the Department of Energy may prevent the unauthorized disclosure and use of sensitive consumer energy data and avoid future enforcement actions by the FTC.